Growing up in Sweden, I’ve never used an AC in my home. Surely office spaces and other places would feel cold, but I didn’t think too much about it (except that I didn’t really enjoy the big difference in the outside and inside temperatures, it felt kind of unnatural and unnecessary to me). After this summer in LA, where we one day had temperatures up around 117°F here in the Valley…I’ve surely come to appreciate the AC we have in the house here. I get it.
However, when the AC suddenly stopped working, and we had a person coming here to help us with it, and they pointed out that it was the Freon that was out, “because it always leaks a little, so it needs to be filled up every year”, my ears dropped together with my heart. Freon? Wait, is that still…in use? Were my first thoughts. Freon, it’s a poisonous gas, a greenhouse gas – wasn’t that forbidden long ago, I wondered?
So, I googled it, obviously. And no, it’s not forbidden, here. It is in a phase out phase though. So, slowly we need to replace our old AC:s with newer, hopefully greener, ones. Reading on a few different pages, I also noted another thing, the lack of…discussion around energy use (as usual, I might start to add). One text described the situation:
“In Arizona, dependence on a solid running AC system is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.”
And I really get it, it sort of is! To live in this heat, it’s…hard. And again, I am so grateful for having had a cool(ish) home to retreat to during this hot summer here. And. I’m also thinking that we…don’t even think about it so much, it seems. We take things for granted. Like, that we are entitled to “tempered” homes, even when living in climates with extreme weather. Where I come from, that would be expecting a warm and cosy home even in freezing winter time (which we do, most of us). And yes, it’s really cool that technology let us live comfortably even where…maybe we, or many of us, wouldn’t survive, wasn’t it for heaters or AC:s. What I do miss though, is some more reflection around this whole thing. That we have chosen to live in climates that are a certain way, and to some extent I do believe we would be better off…adapting a bit more to it. I spent last week at a (fabulous) course – and it was somewhere in the mid 90’s outside…and in the classroom the ac:s were kept at 70 for most of the time – freezing, compared to the outside.
The same thing goes for restaurants and cafes with the “heaters” on for their outside seats all evening. Blankets and a few more layers of clothing would do just fine, rather than spitting out heat in the atmosphere, don’t you think? So, now, go check your AC. Does it contain freon? What temperature-settings do you use? Can you make it work a little less by changing them a bit, to save energy – and give your body a chance to adapt to the climate you live in? Just some thoughts 🙂
A couple of the pages I found, as examples. They seem to highlight the personal dangers with freon more than talking about the bigger picture, but do mention the environmental impacts at least a bit, too: